Tips for Living Well With Parkinson’s Disease in 2022

Lori DePorter avatar

by Lori DePorter |

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After a Parkinson’s diagnosis, life can become a stream of “what ifs” and “I can’ts.” While it’s true that life changes with the disease, there are still many things we can do, including exercising, practicing mindfulness, and eating a healthy diet.

Many ring in the new year by promising to exercise more and eat a healthy diet. It may sound cliché, but for those of us with Parkinson’s, a healthy lifestyle can improve our quality of life and help us manage symptoms and slow progression.

If you have Parkinson’s, I’ve compiled a list of activities that you may find helpful. Remember, before starting an exercise plan or changing your diet, make sure to consult with your medical team. Keep your goals simple and attainable. Tackle one thing at a time. Be patient with yourself. Include your family — a healthy lifestyle is for everyone!

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Exercise

Do something for your health every day. Simple activities and one-minute meditations are a great way to start. There are exercises for all abilities and fitness levels, from chair exercises to high-intensity interval training.

Physical activities might include taking a walk, or tossing a ball from one hand to the other while standing or sitting. Try adding cognitive exercises to your daily regimen. For instance, toss the ball and spell your name.

You can also add resistance training with very light weights or bands. Water bottles or cans of soup can serve as dumbbells. A dish towel pulled tight between your hands can be used as well. Be creative.

A few things to keep in mind: Choose something appropriate for your fitness level that you enjoy, and try new activities. If you can exercise with friends, a spouse, or other people with Parkinson’s, they can hold you accountable and help you stick with it. That’s a win for everyone!

The Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s and the Brian Grant Foundation offer additional resources and tips.

Mindfulness

Researchers are discovering that mindfulness is helpful in managing Parkinson’s. It can relieve stress and anxiety, and improve your mood. Some useful tools are apps, books, soft music, and breathing techniques.

Healthy eating

Drinking enough water to stay hydrated and maintaining a well-balanced diet can be challenging. Finding ways to simplify cooking can make this easier and less stressful.

Start with a few simple recipes that contain few ingredients but are packed with vitamins. Use precut meats and vegetables as a shortcut.

Try new things and mix them up. Hard-boiled eggs or smoothies can make for a healthy meal at any point during the day. It’s breakfast for dinner!

Another option is meal delivery services, which conveniently send you the ingredients for several meals. You can tailor the meals to your diet, and choose how many you want.

Keep it simple, and you can be successful. It is possible to pursue a healthy lifestyle with Parkinson’s. Visit the Parkinson’s News Today Forums and let us know how you are choosing to be healthy in 2022.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

Comments

Garry Maxfield avatar

Garry Maxfield

Never give up on life because you have PD; its not a death sentence. I push myself to continue in the sport of Archery and also do exercises. While my medication does help manage the symptoms, my attitude is the only thing that gives me quality of life........

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Lori DePorter avatar

Lori DePorter

I saw an image that said..."PARKINSON'S...it's a word, not a sentence." You are spot on and keep up the great attitude. It keeps you going in the right direction.

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John Citron avatar

John Citron

Excellent stuff Lori.

I would like to add somethings that I find helpful.

Setup a schedule for medication times and stick with it.

I find that by doing this it minimizes my off times a lot. After a major adjustment, I take my medication currently at 10 am, 4 pm and 10 am consistently almost to the clock. If I'm off this schedule and end up quite a bit late, I feel awful.

Speaking of schedules, setup and keep a routine. For those of us who are now "retired", we have the whole day to nap, sleep, and do as we please. The problem with no schedule is we find ourselves slipping away into a nether land.

From personal experience here, I find getting up at a certain time, for me it's 9 am, and going to bed at 1:00 am is good. I do get in an hour or two nap after dinner. I'm not sleep deprived, and I keep myself busy during the day with various hobbies and interests such as music.

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Lori DePorter avatar

Lori DePorter

Thank you for sharing more tips...be sure to visit our forums and connect with others in the community.

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